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Creating a strong, caring environment for loved ones in assisted living

By Senior Living

Each year in May, we recognize Older Americans Month. This year, the theme is “Communities of Strength” – an especially poignant focus when living through a pandemic and looking to better days ahead.

But no matter what the time period or situation, there are always so many things to consider when the critical decision of moving a loved one to assisted living comes to the forefront.  Families often have to take a hard look at what their relative truly needs to be comfortable versus what they might want that person to have to make themselves feel better about the change.

If you’re starting the process of a life transition with your loved one, it takes courage and a thorough conversation about what’s best for them in a new living space.

  • Allow some personal belongings. Downsizing is an important factor when moving to assisted living. A favorite kitchen table or lounge chair may no longer fit in a new space, so it is left behind. What is important to pack for your relative are photographs of family and friends, photo albums, favorite books, a piece of artwork or a familiar blanket and pillows. Transitioning to new housing for your loved one shouldn’t mean giving up all the comforts of their former home.
  • Not everything should be new. Moving someone into an assisted living facility is a huge adjustment. So much is different for them – the people, the food, the routines. Many times, families look to our spaces that include kitchens as a must-have, especially if their loved one enjoyed cooking. If the resident is taking all meals in the dining area and needs significant support when eating, then the kitchen isn’t a necessity. Experts remind us that change should be kept to a minimum. The best approach is to limit the new things that our residents need to learn and adjust to, and they may not even use or need because of the complete amenities offered.
  • Expect change. It will happen. Your loved one will tell you that they don’t like where they now live. They may even ask to go home. Remember, this is a normal process when dealing with major changes. Keep in mind that to them, home is both a place and a feeling. Ask them to talk to you about what they miss. It may not change anything, but allowing them to express how they feel is incredibly important.
  • Be patient. Three to six months is the average time experts say that it takes for someone to adjust to assisted living. Stick with the reasons for your loved one’s move – improved safety, health, security, and comfort. This will help get through the tough times in those early days and weeks.

No matter what stage of the assisted living process, you can turn to Castle Senior Living for guidance. Talk to us about concerns that you have as we support your loved one through the transition and toward a happy lifestyle. We are proud to provide a comfortable, loving home environment that encourages independence, stability and happiness, and includes a variety of amenities, programs and clinical support for our residents. That’s how we build a community of strength.

Read more here or contact us with any questions.

Dementia 101 – Visits with Von

By Senior Living

What is dementia?
How can I help my loved one?

Join us on May 12, when we will review excerpts from the dementia presentation, “Take My Hand – Effective Skills for Caregivers” (provided by University of Wisconsin – Green Bay and the Wisconsin Caregiver Academy). We will cover what dementia is as well as review the signs, symptoms, and stages of dementia. Additionally, we will watch a video to better help explain what it feels like to have dementia. Finally, we’ll discuss effective skills for dementia care.

Castle Senior Living incorporates the full version of this training module into our orientation for all of our employees.

Download the Flyer

Date: May 12, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM

Location: Virtual (via Zoom Meet)

RSVP: yvonne@castlewi.com (You will be sent a link)

Yvonne Ward APSW, ACHP-SW

Hospice Executive Director

Yvonne Ward joined the Castle Senior Living family in 2020 and is an integral part of our soon-to-be-launched Hospice program. Yvonne (or Von as we like to call her) has over 11 years of professional experience in hospice, social work, and the healthcare industry. She is an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker – certified in 2017 from the National Association of Social Workers. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Welfare with a Criminal Justice Certificate and her Master’s in Social Work with a Mental Health emphasis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her goal is to help people with their physical, mental, emotional and healthcare needs by providing resources, support, advocacy and education. Von is so passionate about the individuals and families under her care, that she once arranged for a hospice patient to fulfill a last wish to go skydiving and then proceeded to jump out of the plane with him for support!

COVID-19 Update 29

By COVID-19

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

We cannot thank you enough for your perseverance and compassion throughout this difficult time period. We are happy to report no new cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff at this time. Birchrock Castle is open to visitation again under the Safer Indoor Visitation Policy guidelines.

All other communities remain open to visitation.

As a friendly reminder, key takeaways for the Safer Indoor Visitation Policy include:

  • Visitation must be suspended immediately if there is a suspected or confirmed outbreak at a community.
  • Visitations must be scheduled in advance. We are asking families and visitors to please be patient and understanding when setting up visitation as we anticipate a large demand for indoor visits.
  • All visitors must wear masks, allow staff to screen for COVID-19 symptoms, and follow the safety protocols.
  • Different locations have slightly different protocols, so the individual communities will be communicating specific instructions for that community.
  • As always, we are still encouraging virtual visits and making exceptions for compassionate care visits.

While there has certainly been an improvement with more people vaccinated, COVID-19 cases are still higher than we’d like throughout the state, and with the presence and spread of the virus variants in the U.S., we ask everyone to be careful and remain vigilant. Please respect the safeguards that the CDC and the Department of Health have put in place to protect our residents from COVID-19.

The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to be in communication with you as the situation evolves.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Be well and stay safe.

Castle Senior Living Job Fair on May 27

By Senior Living

Castle Senior Living is excited to host a job fair for anyone interested in joining our team. If you think you may be a good fit, please attend! And if you know of anyone who may be a good fit, please encourage them to attend.

We will be holding on the spot in-person interviews. However, if you feel more comfortable or wish to have a virtual interview, we can arrange for that too. For those coming in person, we will have paper applications available day of or you can get a jumpstart and apply online. If you are wanting a virtual interview, please apply online and communicate that you prefer a virtual interview.

We encourage you to visit our Careers page to learn more about our culture, values and benefits of a career at Castle Senior Living.

Date & Time
Thursday, May 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Location
10427 W. Lincoln Ave Suite 1400
West Allis, WI 53227.

Current Openings

  • CNAs (certified nursing assistants)
  • CBRF Caregivers
  • LPNs (licensed practical nurses)
  • Culinary Positions – cooks, aides, etc.
  • Medical Assistants
  • Lead Caregivers
  • House Managers
  • Maintenance Tech

A full listing of open positions can be found here.

To find out more information or if you have any questions please email our recruiter – Meghan Sullivan.

Culinary manager intends to make dining a delicious experience every day

By Senior Living

We recently sat down for a chat with Brian Bercher, the Culinary Manager at The Grand Hills Castle, and soon discovered that he can hold a conversation on pretty much anything – whether it’s creating from-scratch meals for residents, homemade food for rescue dogs or playing in an Irish band.


Brian Bercher is not afraid to admit it up front.

“I don’t cook at home. DoorDash is my private waiter,” he quips.

But in his lifelong role in fine dining as a sous-chef, executive chef, private chef and caterer, Brian is well-trained on cooking from scratch. Since January of this year, he’s been happy to bring his creativity to the daily menu at The Grand Hills Castle.

“I understand the regional meat-potatoes-gravy aspect here,” says Brian. “I want to make as much of our meals as homemade as possible. I’m a firm believer of supporting our community businesses, outsourcing local meat and produce. In fact, next week Monday, we’re preparing roast beef from a local supplier and I will season it myself.”

Brian, who began washing dishes in an authentic Japanese steakhouse when he was 17, has always been interested in food. He earned his culinary degree in between his living and working in restaurants, private kitchens and assisted living communities across the U.S. In addition to his position with The Grand Hills Castle, Brian runs a private chef business.

“Families hire me to cook their weekly meals, so that helps me stay in touch with family cooking and what they want to eat, as opposed to considering a five-star restaurant menu and creating a salmon souffle,” he adds. “In that way, I can reflect what the local wants and needs are much better to the Castle Senior Living community.”

In addition to his talents in the kitchen, Brian is a stage musician and plays bass guitar in the group, Ireland-the-band, which tours much of the East Coast on weekends. He’s involved in Greyhound Rescue and runs a retirement home with two dogs currently in residence. Homemade meals are also on their menu.

“I make my own dog food, usually about forty pounds of food a week. The meals are made with chicken liver, brown rice, sweet potato and carrots. There’s a meat, a grain, and a vegetable. The dogs get a well-balanced meal.”

Brian enjoys the freedom to create what the residents at The Grand Hills Castle want to eat. His goal is to develop a menu that is nutritionally sound and satisfying to the residents and their families.

“We are cooking for them in the same way that we cook for our families,” he says. “Our residents are like family, and we always want to do the best for them.”

COVID-19 Update 28

By COVID-19

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

We regret to inform you that we have had one staff member test positive for COVID-19 at our Birchrock Castle location. As a result, all non-essential visitation has been cancelled at Birchrock Castle until further notice. We continue to work with the Waukesha County Health Department to manage the situation. None of the residents or other staff members are displaying any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 at this time.

Birchrock Castle is considered to be under “outbreak status” and all the residents in the community are being asked to quarantine by the local health department.  One positive case of COVID-19 from either a resident or staff member places a community under “outbreak status” from the Department of Health.

We understand that most of the residents are fully vaccinated, but they still need to follow quarantine guidelines because they live in a healthcare setting per the updated guidance released by the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control-after-vaccination.html.

All other locations are still open for visitation under the safer visitation guidelines. We thank everyone for complying with the safety requirements.

The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to be in communication with you as the situation evolves.

Advance Directives – Visits with Von

By Senior Living

What are Advance Directives?
Who needs them??

Did you know that nearly 70% of Americans do not have Advance Directives in place? Advance Directives refer to the different types of documents that allow for us to spell out what we want (and don’t want!) for our medical care. They allow us to choose someone to be our voice when we are unable to make decisions on our own behalf. Advance care planning benefits those you love because it relieves the emotional burden of someone having to make those decisions for you.

Join us as we review the different types of advance directives, why they are so important, and resources to be able to complete them.

Download the Flyer

Date: April 14, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM

Location: Virtual (via Zoom Meet)

RSVP: yvonne@castlewi.com (You will be sent a link)

Yvonne Ward APSW, ACHP-SW

Hospice Executive Director

Yvonne Ward joined the Castle Senior Living family in 2020 and is an integral part of our soon-to-be-launched Hospice program. Yvonne (or Von as we like to call her) has over 11 years of professional experience in hospice, social work, and the healthcare industry. She is an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker – certified in 2017 from the National Association of Social Workers. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Welfare with a Criminal Justice Certificate and her Master’s in Social Work with a Mental Health emphasis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her goal is to help people with their physical, mental, emotional and healthcare needs by providing resources, support, advocacy and education. Von is so passionate about the individuals and families under her care, that she once arranged for a hospice patient to fulfill a last wish to go skydiving and then proceeded to jump out of the plane with him for support!

COVID-19 Update 27 (Visitation Policy)

By COVID-19

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

We cannot thank you enough for your perseverance and compassion during the Coronavirus pandemic. The past year has presented numerous challenges for all of us. We are happy to report no new cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff at this time.

Additionally, the vaccination process continues to be rolled out and the clinics have gone smoothly. The second dose of the vaccine has begun to be administered and we expect all of our consenting residents to be fully vaccinated by the end of March.

Finally, we are happy to announce that we will be allowing controlled indoor visits under our Safer Indoor Visitation Policy at each location, starting 14 days after the second Moderna vaccination clinic at each community. The full policy and procedures will be explained to visitors prior to their visit. Key takeaways of the Safer Indoor Visitation Policy include:

  • Visitation must be suspended immediately if there is a suspected or confirmed outbreak at a community.
  • Visitations must be scheduled in advance. We are asking families and visitors to please be patient and understanding when setting up visitation as we anticipate a large demand for indoor visits.
  • All visitors must wear masks, allow staff to screen for COVID-19 symptoms, and follow the safety protocols.
  • Different locations will reach their 14-day post-vaccine clinic date at different times, so the individual communities will reach out to their families with dates and instructions for when the indoor visitation can begin
    • All communities will reach that benchmark by the end of March (barring any delays outside of our control).
  • As always, we are still encouraging virtual visits and making exceptions for compassionate care visits.

COVID-19 cases are still high throughout the state, and with the presence and spread of the virus variants in the U.S., we ask everyone to be careful and remain vigilant. Please respect the safeguards that the CDC and the Department of Health have put in place to protect our residents from COVID-19.

The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to be in communication with you as the situation evolves.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Be well and stay safe.

Choosing the Right Senior Living Community

By Senior Living

How do you choose the correct senior living community?

Whether you are considering a future move to a life plan community or perhaps a relative or loved one is in need of care right away, it’s important to lay out a plan to choose the best senior living community for your wants, needs and budget.

Here are some first steps:

  • Determine the community – There are many options available – from independent and assisted living on to long-term nursing communities and 24-hour skilled care. The choice depends on whether the person needs minimal help with medications and meals, or suffers from diseases like Alzheimer’s and other illnesses that require more critical care. Be sure to check out the chart below that can provide some insight on the different types of communities.
  • Contemplate the right fit – When you look at the broad picture, consider which communities are licensed by the state. Perhaps you or your loved one will thrive in a small, more homelike setting or would prefer a larger senior living community. Money is also a factor, whether you can afford private pay or require financial assistance.
  • Study the reputation – Once there are locations to consider, research websites and social media platforms. Consider the community’s testimonials and client reviews, and ask friends who’ve been in similar situations for referrals.

Tip: Look for the ways a community shows compassion to residents, supports their needs, and keeps them engaged in activities for a well-rounded senior living experience.

Once a list of needs and wants is completed, continue your preparation with the following:

  • Develop a list of questions – These could involve the cleanliness of the community, the floor plan’s ease of use, safety measures (door locks, lighting, handrails), meal plans, social activities and more. Be sure to ask how the residence stands out from similar communities in your chosen location.
  • Schedule a tour – In-person visits are available at some communities, though some are continuing with virtual tours during the pandemic. Contact the places you’re considering for the latest guidelines.

Bottom line, trust your instincts. If the community feels like the place you or a loved one would consider their new home, then you’re well on your way. Please contact us if you have additional questions or want more information about making the best choices for senior living. We’d love to help and our team is fantastic at supporting people as they go about making this difficult decision – whether the final choice is Castle Senior Living or not.

The Four Primary Senior Residence Options

Community Based
Residential Facility
CBRF
Adult Family Home AFH
(3-4 bed)
Residential Care
Complex RCAC
Nursing Home
Residence Type Serves a variety of needs, and may include dementia and other conditions of aging Serves a variety of needs, and may include dementia and other conditions of aging Independent living. Does NOT serve incompetent, Alzheimer’s, or dementia populations Most require 24-hour care due to physical or mental conditions
Number of
Residents
From 5-257 beds, usually 20+ Up to 4, usually a residential-style home Independent living complex; at least 5 apartments 5 or more
RN on staff Not required Not required Not required Yes
Hours of nursing care Up to 3 hrs/wk Up to 7 hrs/wk N/A 24 hours
General level of care Provides room and board and assistance. Most often admit and provide services to:

  • People of advanced age
  • Dementia
  • Developmental disabilities
  • Mental health
    problems
  • Physical disabilities
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Terminally ill/Hospice
Care, treatment or services are above the level of room and board; should not require care above intermediate level of nursing care Provide up to 28 hours of care/week:

  • Supportive services
  • Personal assistance
  • Health services
  • Emergency assistance

Services must be part of tenant’s service agreement

Complete care, room and board
24-hour caregivers Yes Caregivers may live on-site Emergency Assistance if needed Yes
Minimum Age
Requirement
18 years 18 years Adult Adult

Caring for the Caregiver – Visits with Von

By Senior Living

Are you a caregiver? Feeling blue? Feeling stressed?

YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Whether you are a professional caregiver or a caregiver for a family member, taking care of yourself isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can care for others.

Come join us for an interactive discussion where we will review what caregiver stress and burnout is, signs of caregiver stress and burnout and finally discuss some helpful strategies for dealing with it.

Castle Senior Living is proud to present the first session of “Visits with Von.” This monthly event is hosted by our Hospice Executive Director, Yvonne Ward, and our goal is to provide insights into Hospice and Senior Care to those with questions or loved ones who may be in need.

Download the Flyer

Date: March 10, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM

Location: Virtual (via Zoom Meet)

RSVP: yvonne@castlewi.com (You will be sent a link)

Yvonne Ward APSW, ACHP-SW

Hospice Executive Director

Yvonne Ward joined the Castle Senior Living family in 2020 and is an integral part of our soon-to-be-launched Hospice program. Yvonne (or Von as we like to call her) has over 11 years of professional experience in hospice, social work, and the healthcare industry. She is an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker – certified in 2017 from the National Association of Social Workers. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Welfare with a Criminal Justice Certificate and her Master’s in Social Work with a Mental Health emphasis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her goal is to help people with their physical, mental, emotional and healthcare needs by providing resources, support, advocacy and education. Von is so passionate about the individuals and families under her care, that she once arranged for a hospice patient to fulfill a last wish to go skydiving and then proceeded to jump out of the plane with him for support!